FRIDAY MARCH 24, 2017
 
Blog SPORTS EXTRAS
LIFE AFTER COMPETITION
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We love our sports in this country. Furthermore, we love competition in this country; it has become a lifestyle for many. This love for competition can be best demonstrated by looking at our professional sports teams. Pro athletes and coaches are idolized and imitated by their younger counterparts. This love affair with professional athletes drives our youth to become more skilled and to work to make their sports dreams come true. 

However, all the games, practices, late nights, and early mornings often culminate in a moment when a competitive athlete can either make it as a professional or must set his sights on other goals. For some, that moment comes after high school; for others, it comes after a 20 year long NHL career. One thing is for sure: you can’t play competitive sports for your entire life.

Leaving the world of competitive sports also leaves a hole in the heart. For those that have grown up in this culture of competition, not having anything to play for can have a depressing effect. For many others, they do not miss the game as much as you may think. What they miss is the sense of urgency, the feeling of playing for something, and the camaraderie they have with their teammates. These things don’t have to be gone from life forever, though.

How can I stay competitive?

Recreational sports while not the level of competition that you may be accustomed to, can serve a purpose in that they give purpose to athletes whose need for competition didn’t waver when their skills did. In addition to being able to compete again, rec sports allow you to be part of a team and to make those connections with teammates. They also serve as a great way to keep up your activity level and stay in shape. Recreational sports come in many shapes and sizes. There are more competitive leagues and less competitive leagues. While it may never be the same you have the power to continue to include competition in your life.

What sports can I play?

Adult recreational leagues exist for any sport you can imagine. For ex-soccer players there is men’s league soccer. For ex-hockey players there is men’s league hockey, and so on. One of the most popular recreational sports for men is softball or baseball. Slow- pitch softball cuts out many aspects of traditional baseball. 

However, the basics of the game stay the same; it is a man with a ball and a man with a bat defending his plate. If you are blessed enough to still be able to throw a baseball without icing your arm for three days, you may even be able to take up men’s league baseball. This more closely imitates the rules and level of competition that you experienced before, while still providing all the benefits of a recreational sport.

What else should I know?

Regardless of what sport you may take up after your competitive career is over, what is certain is that you will still need equipment. You probably don’t want to step up to the plate with the $5 bat you bought at your 80-year-old neighbour’s yard sale. Dropping $200 at Dick's, Sports Authority or Sport Chek on a glove for your beer-league baseball team is also unnecessary, especially when you can get perfectly good baseball bats from HomerunMonkey.com and other online retailers that cost much less. 

For this, keep in mind that equipment companies make a range of products for athletes of all ages and competition levels. If you played sports chances are that you know what you need; even so, browsing an online warehouse of products that range from cheap to expensive will give you the options that are needed in order to get you back on the field.

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